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The Big Ten Misses and Hits

An example of the Big Ten’s new logo as seen on a water bottle, courtesy of the conference. Not horrible by any stretch, though unlike the old logo, which contained a hidden “11,” this logo — as best as I can tell — contains no hidden “12″ for its newest member, Nebraska. So it’s not particularly imaginative; compared to the conference’s choice for the new division names, it’s a stroke of genius. As you’ve already heard, the division names are “Legends” and “Leaders,” befitting… who knows what.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany did state early in the Big Ten Network special that the conference’s leaders — that word again — did not want to use individuals names to mark each division, as the Big Ten’s plethora of memorable players, coaches and officials made selecting two above the rest untenable. Still: Legends and Leaders?

So that was a swing and miss. For now, at least. We’ll grow accustomed to the names eventually; they’ll become natural, though one hoped for a bit more originality from the nation’s oldest conference.

On the other hand, the conference did do a nice job with the new trophy names:

Championship Game Trophies

Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy
Named for Amos Alonzo Stagg, University of Chicago; and Joe Paterno, Penn State

Grange-Griffin Championship Game M.V.P.
Red Grange, Illinois; and Archie Griffin, Ohio State

Postgraduate Awards

Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award
Gerald R. Ford, Michigan; and Nile Kinnick, Iowa

Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award
Tony Dungy, Minnesota; and Anthony Thompson, Indiana

Annual Award/Trophies

Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year
Otto Graham, Northwestern; and Eddie George, Ohio State

Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year
Bronko Nagurski, Minnesota; and Charles Woodson, Michigan

Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year
Woody Hayes, Ohio State; and Bo Schembechler, Michigan

Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year
Darrell Thompson, Minnesota; and Antwaan Randle El, Indiana

Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year
Dave Rimington, Nebraska; and Orlando Pace, Ohio State

Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year
Bubba Smith, Michigan State; and Courtney Brown, Penn State

Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year
Bob Griese, Purdue; and Drew Brees, Purdue

Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year
Alan Ameche, Wisconsin; and Ron Dayne, Wisconsin

Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year
Jack Tatum, Ohio State; and Rod Woodson, Purdue

Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year
Dick Butkus, Illinois; and Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year
Pat Richter, Wisconsin; and Desmond Howard, Michigan

Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year
Ted Kwalick, Penn State; and Dallas Clark, Iowa

Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year
Jim Bakken, Wisconsin; and Morten Andersen, Michigan State

Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year
Dike Eddleman, Illinois; and Brandon Field, Michigan State

Swing and miss on the division names; those trophy designations are a big hit, at least for me. The Big Ten is the first conference, I believe, to award trophies for each group on the field, going beyond the simple offensive and defensive player of the year awards shared throughout the rest of the country.

So nice job there, Big Ten. As for those division names: too late to reconsider?

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  1. calmer than you are says:

    Legends and Leaders? Legends and Leaders?? Legends and Leaders?????

    So, so dumb. What’s wrong with “East” and “West”?

  2. DMK says:

    Slow and Slower would be appropriate.

    Meat and Loaf?

  3. calmer than you are says:

    And with this, 99% of people outside the Big Ten will forever call them “The Michigan Division” and “The Ohio State Division.”

  4. schedule nit says:

    “3 Yards” and “Cloud of Dust” ldo.

  5. DMK says:

    Fanfare and Pageantry.

  6. DMK says:

    The Agony and The Defeat.

    I could go on and on. And probably will.

    Paul: Please do. I’d love to hear some of your ideas for better names than “Leaders” and “Legends.” Everything thus far has been an improvement.

  7. Darren says:

    This whole mess just is more proof that noboby enjoys the smell of their own farts more than the Big Ten.

    Pentagram design is a big brand firm. In my experience that = full of crap. They wrote block letters and tried to appear clever.

    Legends and Leaders are so bad I can’t believe it. I don’t know what to say.

    The trophies? Nice idea. The names are terrible. There were fewer hyphenated names on 1990s marriage certificates than they now have in the Big Ten.

  8. wildcat6 says:

    Okay, here’s what I’ve been touting, and I’ll stand by it.

    Lakes and Heartland. Lakes would be the Ohio State division, and Heartland would be the Michigan division. I know there are some problems with this. Northwestern is right on Lake Michigan, and would be in the Heartland. Michigan is known as the “Great Lakes State” but would be in the Heartland. But I think these descriptions are distinctive and memorable, and they evoke images of the landscape of the Big Ten. Naturally, this would’ve worked better if Michigan and Michigan St. had been kept in with the rest of the eastern teams, and Wisconsin and Illinois remained with those in the west. But the Big Ten messed that up.

    I just think Leaders and Legends sounds too marketing research corporation-ish. As if the Big Ten dropped some major coin on some huge firm to come up with it. I don’t like it, and I’m hoping the backlash is similar to what happened with the Marquette Gold around 2002. That went over horribly, and was changed.

  9. wildcat6 says:

    I should point out the obvious – if the teams had been arranged as I illustrated in the previous post, Eastern and Western divisions would have been the preferred choice.

  10. DMK says:

    “Laverne&Shirley” and “Roseanne”

  11. Matt Rob says:

    For the conspiracy theorists out there:

    It does not appear that there is a 12 hidden in the logo, but does it look as much like a 16 as it does a 10.

    Planning for the future?

  12. Rick says:

    I always thought that if you are going to use descriptive words rather than geographical designations that “Tradition” and “Glory” would have been good choices. They describe the conference as a whole and do not have the individualized connotation like “Leaders” does.

  13. DMK says:

    It certainly reeks of fascist language. Seems that the Big 10-16 understands its demographic. Anything other than something geographic will be just plain moronic.

  14. schedule nit says:

    Lakes & Heartland is a nice start;

    Corn & Cod
    Trout & Kraut
    Yams & Clams
    Boats & Oats
    Sailors & Bailers
    Surf & Turf

    Please note I’m not sure any of these things actually exist there excepting corn.

  15. M Meyer says:

    Prime Rib and Pork Chop
    Rust Belt and Plains States
    Hoover and Taft
    Curds and Whey
    Bessie and Babe
    Barley and Hops
    Students and Athletes

  16. M Meyer says:

    Anyway, so, Ron Zook is a ”leader” and Rich Rod is a ”legend.”

  17. DaU!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    I honestly did not expect the big ten to come up with something so corny. It almost as if it was created in a movie that was mocking how corporations create ideas…

  18. Burnt Orange says:

    Assuming that this is not a practical joke, the trophy names are okay but boy they really reached at times so every school could get some awards named after their guys. Maybe next year they shouldn’t keep score in league games but instead award participation ribbons to everyone who suits out. League members could also start taking turns going to the Rose Bowl.

    Plus why does Amos Alonzo Stagg get a trophy named after him ? – he coached at Chicago which has not been in the league since the Great Depression and the last time I checked was playing D-III football.

    The division names are horrible and clearly selected by a woman – there is no other explanation. If we can’t do East and West, then go with the Fielding Yost and Bernie Bierman divisions. They only won 11 National Championships between them.

  19. Jack says:

    @Burnt Orange: Chicago is technically a member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which is the Big Ten’s academic arm. I think they have voting privileges on some conference matters. And besides, Stagg is still a big part of the conference’s history, so why not name something after him?

  20. Burnt Orange says:

    Jack- I know I am narrow minded but you say Big Ten and I think Rose Bowl. It’s like I said above, they went out of their way to wedge reps from the different universities into awards and in the process, they left out two great coaches. I do think that having two guys who coached into their eighties share an award name is a nice touch.

  21. Bryan Bestwick says:

    Great Lakes & Great Plains

  22. Burnt Orange says:

    I am trying to let this go, but the fact that Ted Kwalick and Dave Rimington are honored yet never played a down in the league is making me crazy. Rimington named at the expense of Jim Parker and Dierdorf?

    What about Reggie Roby being ignored at punter so that a track and basketball guy is acknowledged ?

  23. Jake Smith says:

    I will forever refer to them as:

    Northwestern and Wisconsouth

    which are their geographically correct names that also account for explaining the geographical error that they made.

  24. Robert Paulson says:

    Just stick to All-Conference teams Big12partII.

    Also, find different division and conference names.

  25. Gotham Gator says:

    After the very bad decision to put Ohio State and Michigan in different divisions, we really shouldn’t have expected any subsequent displays of good judgment from the Big Ten.

    That said – “legends” and “leaders” is just horrible.

    At first, I thought better division names would be “Blown Out by Florida” and “Blown Out by LSU” – but then I remembered that Ohio State can’t be in both divisions at once.

  26. BP & The Real Big Red says:

    First of all, I’m happy to finally be back in a conference where tradition matters. Texas sucked that out of the Big 8 when they joined.

    Division names are lame. Anything mentioned above would at least be more entertaining.

    Burnt Orange… Remington played in the league for the Bengals and Eagles. Also, remember these are college awards. Many of these players don’t deserve these honors if years in “The League” matter. With your logic, Tom Brady deserves to be named in an award – great NFL player, but average college player. By the way, Remington is easily one of the best COLLEGE linemen ever. Sports Illustrated put this together in 1999: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/centurys_best/news/1999/10/06/cfb_allcentury_team/
    It’s old, but not much has changed, I would say Ndamukong Suh would move Rich Glover down the board.

    I know Nebraska is the new team, but we only have one player/coach honored in the names of these trophies? Please refer to the above link. The tradition-rich Big Ten has missed the mark on many of these awards. Cornhuskers forgotten, stellar Big 10/11 are a just plain missed and some are just plain poor picks:
    Pat Fitzgerald…no Ohio State Linebackers (CHRIS SPIELMAN!!!)
    Best Coaches…Several coaches in the history of this conference have better winning percentage (IE Tom Osborne)
    Charles Woodson…AWESOME D-Back – Not best defender(many linebackers from Ohio State and Ndamukong Suh to just mention a few)
    Eddie George…not even the best offensive player when he played, let alone the history of the Big Ten/Nebraska

    Did I mention Ndamukong Suh should have been somewhere?

  27. BP & The Real Big Red says:

    Gotham Gator – in your Blown out by…divisions, which one would Nebraska fit into. Talk all you want, but what was the score last time we met?

    Bryan Bestwick – Best names to date!

  28. DMK says:

    Split them into three divisions and name the other “About to be Blown out by Arkansas.”

  29. DMK says:

    Mandarich should have something named after him.

  30. Burnt Orange says:

    @BP and the Real Big Red- I am not doing a good job of making my point – these are Big 10 awards and I think people that actually played and coached in the Big 10 should be considered. When I said never played “in the league”, I was referring to the Big 10. My mistake.

    Parker for years was considered one of the great collegiate linemen. I wasn’t thinking of his pro career (or Dierdorf’s) when I made the comment. I think they are both in the College Football Hall of Fame.

    As to Remington, I agree – he might be the greatest college offensive lineman of all time- he is generally considered the top collegiate center and he used to be the only two time winner of the Outland- not sure if that is still the case. However, he never played a down in the Big 10.

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